Strom and Illuminated-I am sure you would have had problems with
Moses when he led the church and the children of Israel. Only the Levites were
allowed to participate in priesthood and temple ordinances.Perhaps
you would have criticized the church when Christ was on the earth because he
only taught the Jews. It wasn’t until after his death that the apostles
took the gospel outside of Israel.As President Uchtdorf told us in
conference a few years ago the restoration continues. All things weren’t
restored in 1830. And if you remember, the early saints wanted and tried to
live the law of consecration and failed miserably. They weren’t ready or
prepared. Perhaps this is what happened for 150 years. The early members of
the church weren’t ready or prepared to allow ALL people to participate in
the church. This was a society problem as well. It’s hard for us to
judge because we did not live in those times. But the people changed and prayed
and wanted for this to happen as a whole. And finally society and the church
and the people were ready to be accepting of all races. It’s
easy for you to say, “ I would have never felt that way.” But you
don’t really know.
"Either he was a false prophet or he was not. You can't really have it
both ways."Sure you can. There has been only one who could be
perfect that has walked n this earth, everyone else falls short. The scriptures
are full of stories of "good men", people called to high offices and
responsibility, that have at one point had their humanity make poor judgements
for them. Moses was punished for disobeying God's demand. The 12
Apostles had doubt several times even though they walk with Christ himself. The current leadership of this Church from its restoration forward is no
less human. And with that, they bring their prejudices, histories, and humanity
with them. This is why we have always had the commandment to seek affirmation
ourselves - to not be like sheep - but to purposely follow.Being a
leader in this church is not a claim to perfection nor infallibility.
Non-believers who try to use that as a "gotcha" simply don't have a
clue to the meaning of the gospel, its message, and the reason for the
atonement. And thats ok... they can believe as they like. Why they spend so
much energy trying to destroy others beliefs? Who knows...
@strom thurmondJoseph Smith interpreted the Pearl of Great Price. He also
conferred the Priesthood to several African Americans. If he believed what was
written in the Pearl of Priesthood included a ban of the Priesthood by God to
African Americans, he would have taken away the Priesthood to those African
Americans. He didn’t do this. One would assume that he didn’t
believe a ban should be applied based on this doctrine.There has
been doctrine that Prophets taught that the Church does not support today.
Brigham Young taught what was called the Adam- God doctrine. Spencer W Kimball
told his brethren the Church does not support this doctrine.One of
the things that appealed to me when I was taught the gospel was having a living
prophet that would guide us in the present, who can make changes to instruct and
support the brethren when our Heavenly Father thought it was necessary, or
change things that were not in sync with his gospel. I think that the
proclamation in 1978 falls in the latter category.
When I first investigated the LDS Church in 1970-71, I brought up the issue of
Blacks and the Priesthood. We didn't discuss it at great length, but I was
satisfied that their was nothing inherent in Blacks which would permanently keep
them from he Priesthood, and that they would one day receive it. Theories
of inherent racial inferiority were widespread, almost pandemic, in 19th
Century America. Even many abolitionists and anti-slavery advocates held
attitudes which would be blatantly racist by current standards -- some even
suggesting that former plantation owners should step in and serve as
paternalistic "overseers" for former slaves. William Ellery Channing,
noted liberal clergyman of the early 19th Century, and founding father of
American Unitarianism, also held he same or similar attitudes.
As a high school student in the late 60's I worked the janitorial graveyard
shift in the Tabernacle. About 3 months before I left the job I had to chance
to become acquainted with a new security guard who was one of the first members
from Nigeria to join the church.One of our few conversations was
about how he found out about the church and why he joined. He told of finding a
BofM in an apartment he'd moved into and was intrigued enough to inquire at
the address found in the book. The information he received convinced him to
join. It took special visits from and to missionaries in another country (I
don't remember where) and quite a long time (more than a year as I vaguely
recall) but he was determined and not only joined the church but eventually came
to SLC to be closer to the prophet.He'd only been in the U.S. a
few months and when I asked him about his experience of living here thus far he
just said he was loving it but was occasionally home sick. He mentioned nothing
about experiencing any racism or having any resentment about the then still
extant policy about Blacks and the Priesthood.When the announcement
came in 1978 one of my first joyful thoughts was of him.
@illuminated: "Sounds like the philosophy of men mingled with
Scripture..."Which portions do you believe to be incorrect? Do
you seek civil dialogue? Or merely to be disagreeable?
I remember where I was and what I was doing when this change happened. What a
@Frozen FractalsThat is the question! Joseph Smith ordained black
men, then after slavery was legal in Utah the ban was placed.The
First Presidency issued a statement calling it doctrine in 1949. Then within the last few years the Church has moved away from that.At least one group was not inspired and erred, or possibly both. But both
cannot be correct. And for a Church that claims to be sole holder of the
means of Salvation, it seems to be a bit confused.
Strom, Illuminated and others don't hold themselves to the same standard
they require of others. We all change as our knowledge increases. Some just
won't admit that because of their agenda. I certainly change as I learn
The cessation of something that never should have happened is something to
@NoNamesAccepted "The whole hath no need of a physician.Let he
who is without sin cast the first stone.The purpose of the church is to
help bad men be good and good men be better.Don't judge me because I
sin differently than you do.Predjudice is an ugly, common sin among
humanity. So too are lust, covetousness, anger, sloth, lack of faith, being
judgemental, and a host of other ills common to the natural man."Sounds like the philosophy of men mingled with Scripture...
@MaxPower"The Church taught for several decades that the race was
cursed for lack of faithfulness in the previous life. They have since disavowed
and called these teachings false. "I think the lingering issue
these days, since the church has ruled out the "explanations" people had
for it like that is... was the priesthood ban correct to have during the period
that it was in place?
@someguyaaron: "Sadly, there are prejudice people in The Church, it is so
wrong! I consider these people, to be unworthy to be members!"The whole hath no need of a physician.Let he who is without sin
cast the first stone.The purpose of the church is to help bad men be
good and good men be better.Don't judge me because I sin
differently than you do.Predjudice is an ugly, common sin among
humanity. So too are lust, covetousness, anger, sloth, lack of faith, being
judgemental, and a host of other ills common to the natural man.Thank heaven My Lord is merciful.
The Mormon Church and religion are no different than others. All being created
by man to worship and socialize. Prior to the revelation, the edict from the
church represented the views of it's members and a lot of the public at
large. The Mormon church, along with other religions will look considerably
different decades from now.
"there is no reliable evidence that any black men were denied the priesthood
during Joseph Smith's lifetime."That's supposed to
make all the years of racism OK?This is not a history to be
celebrated. It is an embarrassing history for the church!
The revelation was especially gratifying to me because I had been a missionary
in Brazil where the vast majority of the population is a mix of American Indian,
African, and European descent. It was difficult to distinguish who had the
lineage of Cain and who did not. Across the ocean In Africa, entire tribes had
been converted through the Book of Mormon. I feel what was happening in Brazil
and Africa inspired President Kimball to wrestle with the issue. I don't
doubt it was a revelation--given to correct an erroneous doctrine. It is
heartening the Church is celebrating the revelation. Hopefully, it will help us
overcome prejudices and embrace one another as equals, as brothers and sisters,
because we are all children of God.
strom thurmond - I believe if Brigham Young were alive today and heard your
questioning whether or not he was a prophet he would be the first to tell you
that above all else, he was a human, subject to the same prejudices that plague
a good portion of the world, even today. And I feel certain that with the view
he has from where he is today, he would admit that the policy was wrong.
@YorkshireThe Church taught for several decades that the race was
cursed for lack of faithfulness in the previous life. They have since disavowed
and called these teachings false. A First Presidency message in
1949 states "The position of the Church regarding the Negro may
be understood when another doctrine of the Church is kept in mind, namely, that
the conduct of spirits in the premortal existence has some determining effect
upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on
mortality and that while the details of this principle have not been made known,
the mortality is a privilege that is given to those who maintain their first
estate; and that the worth of the privilege is so great that spirits are willing
to come to earth and take on bodies no matter what the handicap may be as to the
kind of bodies they are to secure; and that among the handicaps, failure of the
right to enjoy in mortality the blessings of the priesthood is a handicap which
spirits are willing to assume in order that they might come to earth. Under this
principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to
the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes. "
Many college professors have pressure for being Christian today. I am not
comparing it to racism, just that some professors in the 21st century have
received persecution on multiple fronts, and they say their Christianity
presents the greatest challenge. This will unite us. Others have said that
secularism has already won the war with religion, it is just a matter of them
mopping up after the confrontation.
@strom thurmond nails it.I am blown away by the historical
whitewashing going on right now in the LDS Church. If you're saying that
the doctrine on blacks and the Priesthood was wrong and "bigoted" from
1852 to 1978, then these men weren't prophets of God and this Church
isn't true. Period. There is no getting around it.There
wasn't a new revelation because we already had it the doctrine revealed in
the book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. These passages were repeatedly
referenced as the official revelation on Priesthood restriction for blacks. They
never, ever claimed it had anything to do with slavery or racism. To suggest
that is to bear false witness against these good men. It's disgusting and
shameful.This is just going to cause far more faithful members to
question their Church. You can tell me that an offhand statement or hastily
written thought by a high ranking LDS authority was a mistake. But you simply
CANNOT tell me that between 10 to 12 prophets of LDS history just made a giant
collective mistake for well over 100 years.These are prophets, seers
and revelators who held the sole keys of Christ's Church on the Earth and
this was revelation from God.
Was Brigham Young, and the rest of the leadership from 1852-1978, in
apostasy?Either he was a false prophet or he was not. You can't
really have it both ways.Harold B Lee, Mark Peterson, Joseph
Fielding Smith, Bruce McConkie, and so many others, should be listed with
Brigham Young, as they became the well from which mormons drew their beliefs in
this regard.And I was taught in 2005 that the source of the
priesthood ban was the pearl of great price, so it really is still believed by
church-employed educators.Why restore a church in 1930, only to have
to do a touch-up in 1978?If it was a revelation, why isn't it
canonized as such, instead of it being a "declaration"?Is it
because, like polygamy, it can't be recalled because god commanded it?These are all questions needing answer.
On May 30th. I turned 69. I say that because I was born and raised by parents
who knew no color.As a member of The LDS Church, I always believed that
blacks should hold The Priesthood and was so happy when they could.Sadly,
there are prejudice people in The Church, it is so wrong! I consider these
people, to be unworthy to be members!I pray that this celebration brings
welcome to all.I love you!Aaron
I left the Church partly due to the "Negro Policy". I was just out of
high school, an undergrad at Washington while working swing shift at Boeing.
There I worked side by side with blacks, many of whom became my friends.
Something was wrong, and I drifted away from the Church. Later, on the faculty
at Yale, my colleagues, finding out that I was a Mormon, denounced the Church,
amazed that I was a Mormon though inactive. I defended Mormons, but
couldn't defend the policy. So I read about it. An article in a BYU
publication made the most sense: Brigham Young was interested in many things,
among them science. At that time, scientific consensus was that there was a
hierarchy of humanity, Europeans, of course, being white, were at the top, and
dark-skinned people, aborigines, were at the bottom. At the same time, Christian
churches were busy with justifying slavery: it was your "station" in
life, ordained by God. Brigham Young was probably swayed by those 19th century
pseudoscience and theological currents.The New Haven ward had black
members. When President Kimball, announced the change. It was all over the news.
We rejoiced with our black members. And still do.
The essay does denounce the 'less valiant in the pre-earth life' false
doctrine. However, the essay is somewhat hidden and has never been really been
brought out in the open. The Church needs to more forcefully denounce all of
the false doctrine that was taught regarding race and the Priesthood. There are
too many old timers who still believe that stuff.
The denial of the priesthood for black men was never divine guidance, true
revelation, etc. It was a doctrine of men, driven by the sentiment of the
times, which included overt racism, the dispute over slavery, and contemporary
politics. What is disheartening is that it conflated into doctrine, albeit
false, something that we have seen on other matters. Further, the policy
directly violated a core belief of Mormons as stated by Joseph Smith in the
Articles of Faith, that we are to be punished for our own sins and not those of
others. The denial of the priesthood tied directly to a Biblical account of the
actions of Cain. In the end, it is wisdom to scrutinize Church teachings and
exercise ones right to personal revelation (which is itself a topic that ought
to be openly discussed, but isn't really). In the end, skin color should
never, ever be the grounds for being treated differently from others. After
all, we are all humans and can procreate with one another regardless of skin
color. Racism is a sign of ignorance and insecurity.
This has me baffled. There must be a purpose to the celebration I simply do not
understand. The modern LDS church has unusually terrific public relations, but
this one seems like a miss.Why celebrate the end something that
never should have happened in the first place? ESPECIALLY if we are not going
to say 'this never should have happened'? I don't get it.Modern essays published by the Church come very close. Why not just
follow the Mountain Meadows precedent, swallow the bitter pill, and admit
leaders made mistakes while they were leaders? Not the first time - wont be the
last. The Church will survive. I think our black brothers and sisters,
especially in the US, need this. I need it. And we need it to fully extinguish
every ridiculous 'less valiant in the pre-earth life' false teaching,
The environmental climate in the new US was one of discrimination & hatred
toward Blacks. The same was the condition for the Native Indians who were pushed
West for business expansion & profit. Along came the Book of Mormon which
merges Native Indians w/Blacks w/the story of the Lamanites & Nephites,
Ancient American inhabitants separated as being Black & White. The BoM theme
is to get along & not harbor hatred & war. In 1804 Lewis & Clark met
the Mandan Tribe in North Dakota w/Chief Big White. Promoting equality in the
early 1800's posed a threat to business interests. According to Race and
the Priesthood, Brigham Young is the one who denied Blacks the Priesthood in
1852. Sociologists have identified over 80 different Mormon splinter groups from
Joseph's original Church. Interestingly the BoM also tells a story of the
Zoromites where the rich segregated themselves from the poor, denying the poor
in the Church that they built. The character Alma tells the poor they don't
need a Church organization to worship God. Thus, Church is for man, not man for
Church, something the LDS & the American Bible Society would do well to
embrace as a philosophy, referring to yesterday's news story.
As a fifth generation Mormon I remember when I first heard the news.
Interestingly enough it was reported to our office by a fellow worker who was
transgender black woman who heard it on the radio just before she arrived at the
office. It was 1977 and we were in Salt Lake City so her situation was far more
unique than it would be today. In a conversation about that day several years
after it happened, a good friend put it this way, a way that I think is perfect,
"It was my best day on the church because I no longer had to try to explain
something I didn't understand."Some may continue to called
it revelation but I prefer to think it was the courage of our prophet and those
that serve him among the twelve, that finally made the difference as they
courageously changed a bigoted policy that had hampered the growth of the church
for over a hundred years. It was that courage that strengthened my belief in a
religion that can admit that it is not perfect and continues to strive for
perfection every day by recognizing truth and acting upon it, not always
immediately, but eventually. And isn't that what we all do in our personal
lives, or at least isn't it what we should be doing?
I certainly remember where I was and who brought the news: at the gas station I
managed in Citrus Heights, Ca and a H.S. student who worked for me was the
bearer of the news. What a wonderful blessing! So greatful the
revelation came. WE are all enriched as we have welcomed our brothers and
sisters into the fold.I have read Keith N. Hamilton's account
"Last Laborer" of his coming into the Church and of his boundless faith.
D&C 38:27Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is
even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.
What’s the point of having prophets and apostles if they can be wrong for
The sermons Mormon leaders taught, through the 1970s are not hazy or obscure.They believed black people were inferior and their skin was the result
of their being less valiant before birth.This is undeniable. I was
taught this as a youth, and I for one will not allow the church to whitewash
I'd be willing to bet the farm that "White Mormons" are hoping for
the same thing.
From article: "Occasionally some members still say really hurtful things
about the faithfulness and capabilities (or lack thereof) of black members,"
even though the church's Race and the Priesthood essay explicitly disavowed
such theories."Who would SAY such things, even if they thought
them??Everyone has to realize that LDS members who would inexplicably do
this are not speaking as LDS, they are speaking as people who themselves have
personality issues, have little to no propriety and are lacking in being able to
understand or comprehend basic civility and respect for others.So
while it may be upsetting, its the same as these kinds of people thinking it is
fine and acceptable to say other rude or inappropriate things to
anyone.....("You're having another baby again so soon? Wow, little
ridiculous don't you think?" Why are you waiting til you are 19 to
go on a mission--couldn't cut it at 18 huh?" and others I have heard
at Church.) So uncouth comments to Black members don't
really have anything to do with Blacks at all, just to do with the
speaker's own inability to understand basic decorum and propriety.
Unlike the rest of American unity and love do actually exist in The Church Of
Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints. In the Church a man or woman is actually seen
as a brother or sister and child of God regardless of skin color.
Count my wife and I among those who were thrilled to learn about the revelation.
It happened exactly one month before we were married. So happy the church is
going to honor and celebrate this important change.